Bike safety means sweet treat

Jul. 22—Emily Schepp loves bicycling, so being recognized for safe riding was a bonus that came with a sweet reward.

The eight-year-old Grove City girl and her mother, Elizabeth Curfman, ride their bikes a lot together, always wearing their helmets and making sure to stay safe on the road.

"It's just not safe to not wear a helmet," she said on Monday at Grove City Memorial Park, pointing to her pink and purple helmet.

Emily was riding her bike one day in her neighborhood when a Grove City police cruiser stopped on her street. Patrolman Darryl Webb rolled down his window to tell Emily that he liked her bicycle.

He presented her with a certificate for a free cone at Dairy Queen as part of the police department's bike safety program, which started earlier this summer.

Webb had been driving around that day and said that Emily was the only child he saw on wheels who was wearing a helmet, Curfman said.

In Pennsylvania, kids under 12 must wear helmets while riding a bike.

Grove City police will continue to be on the lookout for kids wearing helmets and demonstrating safe biking practices, said Dean Osborne, police chief.

The ice cream cone certificates can be redeemed at the Grove City Dairy Queen, 904 W. Main St.

It's a good way to encourage kids to be safe and a great opportunity for the patrolmen to engage with children and build relationships, Osborne said.

"It's a 'win-win' any way you look at it," he said, adding that the feedback has been positive.

A lot of kids are coming to Dairy Queen to turn in their coupons; the program is a great idea, said Ashley Mellott, manager of the restaurant.

Emily, who was doing loops around one of the parking lots at the park, said she hopes that more kids practice safe bike riding.

"I see someone else with a helmet on," she pointed out as she looked around the park.

She also wears her helmet while using her electric scooter and skateboards.

Webb was very nice and Emily was happy to meet him, adding that kids don't have to be scared of police.